Craig Clouatre, the 40-year-old Massachusetts native killed last week in a suspected grizzly bear attack in a wooded area north of Yellowstone National Park in Montana, was an avid outdoorsman and aware of the risks posed by spending time in the wild, authorities said.
Park County, Mont. Sheriff Brad Bichler provided the information in a Facebook posting Sunday.
“Let me open by saying the out pouring of love and support that has been shown to Craig Clouatre and his family over the last few days has been remarkable and to be honest I am not surprised,” Bichler wrote. “This community is one that consistently rallies together to help one another in times of need and struggle.”
Bichler said he visited Sunday morning with Clouatre’s wife, who reiterated to him that Clouatre “loved to be in wild places and was well aware of the risks involved with that.”
Clouatre, a married father of four, grew up in West Brookfield, Mass. and attended Quaboag Regional High School in Warren, as well as the University of Presque Isle in Maine, his death notice said.
Search teams on the ground and in helicopters had been looking for Clouatre after he went hiking Wednesday morning with a friend, possibly to hunt for antlers, and was reported overdue that day, according to Bichler. The search began that night concentrated on the Six Mile Creek area of the Absaroka Mountains, located about 30 miles south of Livingston, Mont.
Bichler confirmed via Facebook Friday that it “appears [Clouatre] had an encounter with a grizzly and unfortunately did not survive. ... Please keep his family and all those involved in your thoughts and prayers.
Clouatre’s father, David Clouatre, told the Associated Press that his son grew up in Massachusetts and moved more than two decades ago to Montana, where he met his future wife, Jamie, and decided to make a home.
“He was a joy to have as a son all the way around,” David Clouatre said. “He was a good man, a good, hardworking family man.”
A GoFundMe online fundraising appeal set up for Craig Clouatre’s family had raised more than $102,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.
“Anyone who has met Craig, had a friend in him. He was a man full of joy and kindness,” said the appeal, noting that the Clouatre family had also suffered a devastating house fire two years ago. “And more than anything, he loved his family. He leaves behind a loving wife and four beautiful children. Please join me in wrapping this precious family up and supporting them the best way we can at this time.”
A Globe call to David Clouatre wasn’t immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.
Craig Clouatre’s death notice, posted to the website of the Franzen-Davis Funeral Home & Crematory in Livingston, Mont., said he was “taken too soon at the young age of 40.”
The notice said he’s survived by “his loving wife and best friend of 20 years, Jamie; their 4 beautiful children, Davin, 14, Zoe, 12, and twins, Kylie and Ella, 9; his father, David Clouatre, of Candia, N.H.; his mother and stepdad, Robin and Karl Alm, of West Brookfield, MA; his brother and sister-in-law, Wyatt and Alicia Alm; grandmother, Phyllis Shaylor; as well as several aunts, uncles, cousins and an incredible amount of friends. Craig is preceded in death by his grandfather, William Shaylor.”
The notice said Clouatre grew up in West Brookfield and developed a love of hiking as a child along the trails of Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
“He loved anything to do with the outdoors and the mountains; Craig had a distinct passion for antler hunting. He was an incredible mountaineer and was working on successfully climbing the highest peaks in the West,” the notice said. “ ... Everyone who knew Craig loved him. He made friends wherever he went and truly delighted in listening to people’s stories and sharing his contagious zest for life with a smile and friendship. He made time for everyone he met and was genuinely a caring and loving soul.”
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report, and Globe correspondent Nick Stoico contributed.